Institutional Plague Female Students Battle Against Predatory Lecturers
In a disconcerting narrative that persists in Nigerian universities, female students are waging a relentless struggle against predatory lecturers who misuse their positions of authority, perpetrating a range of misconduct from harassment to rape. This disturbing trend underscores the urgent need for comprehensive measures to confront and deter such abuses within educational institutions.
One young woman, identified as Adaora (surname withheld), courageously recounted her distressing experience at Akwa Ibom State University (AKSU). Within just three months of her academic journey, she became the target of a part-time lecturer’s inappropriate advances, escalating from physical harassment to coercive academic threats. Her cries for help were met with indifference, leaving her emotionally scarred and fearful.
Regrettably, Adaora’s ordeal is not an isolated incident. Recent years have witnessed reports of sexual harassment emerging from various Nigerian universities, including the University of Lagos (UNILAG), University of Calabar, and Nnamdi Azikiwe University, among others. These brave female students have chosen to share their stories, illuminating a pervasive problem that endangers their education and well-being.
Addressing this crisis requires a multifaceted approach:
1. Robust Policies and Penalties: Universities must institute comprehensive sexual harassment policies and ensure stringent enforcement, with severe penalties to dissuade potential offenders.
2. Education and Awareness: Academic institutions should educate students and faculty about sexual harassment, fostering awareness and creating a safer environment.
3. Support Systems: Universities must provide counseling and support services for harassment victims, offering a safe space for assistance and justice.
4. Empowerment: Female students should be encouraged to speak out without fear of repercussions, assured that their voices will be heard and respected.
5. Legal Reforms: Nigeria’s legal framework should be strengthened to address sexual harassment cases effectively, amending laws to provide better protection and justice for victims.
While the battle against predatory lecturers rages on, the resilience of these courageous female students in exposing misconduct and demanding accountability sends a resounding message: it is time to dismantle the culture of silence and impunity that enables harassment to persist. A united front of society must strive to safeguard the rights and dignity of those pursuing education.